Slowly the fighters lowered their swords. Daniel, somewhat reluctantly, unclamped his jaws from the arm of the elf that had started the battle, and Jared moved to join his partner, resting his hand on the jaguar’s head.
“What do you mean it’s not necessary?” the battle elf who seemed to be in command asked.
Kenton smiled tightly. “I think that we are allies fighting allies.” When Aidan frowned at his words Kenton explained. “My friends are not as you supposed from the court or connected with it. They truly are here as my protectors. I quite honestly believed the stories that you were are lackey of the court, Urúvion. As a result I was very certain you would return with your friends in an attempt to force me to retrieve the wand from its hiding place.”
Aidan nodded. “And I was quite sure that you were being forced somehow to set a trap for me, using the wand as bait, so that I could be captured and returned to our world.” He paused, studying Kenton. “What made you change your mind about me?”
Kenton chuckled. “You forgot to ward yourself against a truth spell, something I suspect never occurred to you would be used. When you said you had no interest in obtaining the wand, I heard the sincerity in your voice and cast the spell, finding that what you said was not a lie.”
“Oops,” Mor said, laughing. “And here I was beginning to think you were above making mistakes Aidan.”
Aidan ran a hand through his hair before smiling slightly. “I’m only…well not human, but still that saying holds true. Even I can slip up sometimes. Rarely, but sometimes.”
Daniel returned to his human form and turned to the elf whose arm he had tried to maul. He asked in concern, “Do you need healing?”
The elf shook his head. “Thank you but no. I’m going to be hurting for a while, but my armor protected me from more than some very bad bruising.”
Aidan reversed his own armoring spell before asking, “Who are these battle elves if not lackeys of the court, as you so mockingly once called me?”
One of them replied before Kenton could. “Expatriates like you and Kenton. We come from an enclave far across the country from here. I’ve known him since he actually did work for the court. We are of a like mind that anyone connected with it cannot be trusted not to try to destroy this world given half a chance. The wand would be just what they want and need.”
Aidan nodded in agreement. “You are quite certain that you’ve hidden it well?” he asked Kenton. “Better than you did before.”
“Absolutely. I took a page from Mor’s book and sent it off to who knows where. Only, unlike her, I did not put a time limit on when it will return.”
“So it’s lost forever,” Mor said mournfully.
“No my dear, not forever. If and when it’s needed it will return.”
“To you?” she asked.
“Or my successor, should anything happen to me. And before you ask, I have not decided who that will be. I hope to live a good long time still, until the end of my life span. When and only when that nears will I make a decision.”
“You do realize if things had gone differently today you might be dead now,” Jared pointed out. “Then the wand would be forever lost.”
“And would that truly be such a bad thing?”
“No,” Jared admitted, “I don’t suppose it would be.”
Mor shook her head in frustrated disagreement but remained silent.